Palmstick?

Discussion in 'Pekiti-Tirsia Kali' started by TuhonBill, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. TuhonBill

    TuhonBill New Member

    Hi Folks,

    Do you include the palmstick in your training? I've been teaching a number of palmstick classes lately (such as
    the upcoming seminar in New Iberia, LA. the 23rd and 24th of this month).

    I like this tool as a technical and psychological bridge between empty hand and knife techniques. I've had it help our knife to knife training as well. I had tried Cold Steel's rubber training knives in our sparring when they first came out, but found that guys who moved realistically when they sparred with wooden dowels now began to play "tag" with the rubber knives, delivering light, flicking "cuts" instead of hard stabs. Using a short hardwood palmstick vs. rubber knife seemed to fix this problem, as the guys with the rubber knives suddenly remembered how much a thrust or punyo with a wooden stick can hurt.

    For beginners, who may get a bit queasy at the thought of actually using a knife in a defensive situation, the palmstick lets them cross the threshold of weapons work without having to spill blood.

    What are your thoughts on the palmstick?


    Regards,
    Tuhon Bill McGrath
     
  2. Carol

    Carol <font color = blue><b>Technical Administrator</b><

    I'll bite. ;)


    The way I internalized it, it was the palm stick that opened my noobie mind to the potential for improvised weapons. Palm stick...Sharpie marker...metal stylus...metal pens...small hand tools. Many different styles, not just FMAs, touch upon improvised weapons... but for me as a raw beginner, this was the weapon that gave me the "Aha!" moments to explore improvisation both on my own and in class :)
     
  3. blue

    blue New Member

    FWIW, with the recent proliferation of tactical flashlights and tactical pens on top of the usual keychains, use of palmstick is a very timely topic. I find students are asking more about it, and many have some everyday carry variant of a palmstick (more than carry folders by my estimate). Recently, there have been discussions regarding knives being banned from carry-ons in air-travel, which leaves one only with palmstick or cane-type options in an emergency. Familiarity with these techniques is good to have from a self-defense perspective.
     
  4. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    Anything that I can hit with a hammer fist or shear with the ulnar side of my forearm, I can hit with a palm stick. The same is true for little shots, rakes, and guntings with my thumb and top of my fist (for example, targets on the face, neck, and the insides of the arms and legs, etc.). Slaps work will if the palm stick is secured to the hand like a koppo, and I can even modify punching techniques by hitting with the palm stick butted up against my thumb and hitting with the thumb.

    I find the palm stick to be a versatile weapon that fulfills the maxim that you should try to get something, anything, into your hand as a force-multiplier. Although you can carry something like a mini maglite all the time, just training with a palm stick will get you into the frame of thought of reaching for something to put into your hand as opposed to nothing. As Tuhon Bill says above, it's also a good transition to knife techniques.

    Lately I've been playing with the Kajukenbo sets that I learned and find that most of the shots adapt quite well to the palm stick.

    FWIW, I think that a palm stick seminar would be popular down in Long Island where I live...

    Best,

    Steve
     
  5. TuhonBill

    TuhonBill New Member

    Hi Folks,

    I just did a seminar that included palm stick this past weekend. One thing we worked on was the tie-in between empty hand and palm stick drills. Here is an application of the basic segong-labo drill using the palm stick.


    [video=youtube;JsYdL6DN78o]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsYdL6DN78o[/video]


    Regards,

    Tuhon Bill McGrath
     
  6. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Good stuff. My first exposure to palm stick came when I used to train Japanese Jujutsu. We did a fair amount of work with what was called a "yawarabo" to accentuate our locks and for use in pressure point application. We didn't do much in the way of striking with it while I was there but I definitely experienced a great deal of additional pain during our locks and throws when they were performed with the stick. When I started training FMA, I was working lock flows with a training partner and decided to try some of the locks with a closed folder and got much of the same effect that we did in JJ with the yawarabo. My favorite strike is probably a hammer fist due to the amount of force I can put behind it with virtually no damage to my own hand in the process. Its even better when holding a closed folder to apply point pressure during the strike.

    I have contemplated getting one of the "tactical" pens for discreet carry to use in a similar fashion, particularly when flying but haven't taken the plunge yet. I need to get around to doing that as it can be one heck of a force multiplier.

    Nice video by the way!

    Jason
     
  7. Hertao

    Hertao New Member

    I appreciate the thread on this subject, and thanks for the video above Tuhon. I wish I could have made it to the seminar but was out of the country (as usual).

    Before I go further I want to make clear that I don't mean any disrespect or offense. I've learned a ton from Tuhon Bill (and Danny Terrell...in the video above) and am more than sure you can handle yourself just fine! With that said...

    I have serious doubts as to the effectiveness of the palm stick, but I'd LOVE to be proven wrong as it would be great for such an easy-to-carry object to be substantially more effective than empty hand fighting. The combination in the video looks pretty good, especially when you consider the vital aspect of the footwork. But if you take a look at nearly any real fight, no one stands basically still, throws a perfect cross, etc. You've normally got crazy, dynamic movement and you have no idea if the attack is going to be a straight left, right, hook, upper cut, or something wild and in between. If you limit sparring to boxing style punches with good form, I can pull off bicep smashes and the like. But if your opponent is wild and crazy (and you never know what you're going to face on the street), those things tend to go out the window entirely...in my experience.

    So I'm not so sure the "entries" that are often demonstrated with a palm stick are practical. Even more, I'm not sure they're even ideal. Wouldn't a person be much better off just parrying the punch and smashing the opponent in the face (for example) from the beginning? It seems more likely to succeed, more likely to do more damage faster, and will decrease your chances of getting hit by the second punch in the serious your opponent is likely coming with.

    My first objection to the palm stick are the entries that are usually taught/practiced. My second objection (even if you go straight for the "knock out"), is that the palm stick TENDS to limit a person to long range striking attacks, where an opponent can much more easily evade/escape and counter or continue fighting, compared to controlling the opponent and using techniques that are arguably more efficient/effective/devastating.

    I carry a Surefire LX2, in my hand if I'm in a questionable area/street/block/etc., both where I'm able to carry a gun and where I'm not. It's incredibly bright, and will blind someone with night adapted vision for a solid 2 seconds or so. I like this FAR more than a standard palm stick, as you can blind someone first, and then do what you need to do. But I can't think of many follow ups where I'd hit the opponent with the light (which is really the same as a short metal bar) rather than something else. For instance, I like the idea of blinding a potential attacker and kicking him very hard in the balls as I bridge the distance, followed by a hack to the back of the neck if the opponent bends over (and it's necessary). In a really bad scenario where you need to take someone out for sure, I'd favor head wrenches and such (after drilling the opponent in the balls, solar plexus, etc. and getting control) vs. hitting with a light or palm stick.

    There are a few combinations I like which could follow a blinding flash, that include bashing the opponent with the light...but I'm not so sure they're substantially better than devastating empty hand alternatives. (If you search for "palm stick" in Google a blog post I wrote on the same subject is #1...with slightly more detailed objections.) Like I said, I'd love to be proven wrong here. But with all respect, I can't see entries like the one demonstrated in the above video working in the majority of street attacks, and I'm not certain the palm stick is THAT much better than none even if you go straight "for the kill". I'm interested in Tuhon and other's thoughts on this.
     
  8. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    You're in Louisiana correct? I would encourage you to spend some time with Robert Carver Sensei in Baton Rouge who teaches Jujutsu there. He is exceptional with a palm stick and would be able to demonstrate a variety of applications.
     
  9. Hertao

    Hertao New Member

    No, I'm no longer living in the US.

    Also, I know a great variety of palm stick applications myself. I just don't see the majority of them being more efficient and effective than many alternatives. They hurt (some of them more than alternatives), and they're not ineffective, but I don't seem them as being the MOST effective (stopping an opponent entirely)...with possibly a few exceptions.
     
  10. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that they are the MOST effective, just that they can be, when used the correct way, a force multiplier. Having experienced many techniques with the palm stick, a good deal of them in live sparring settings, I am a believer in its utility. Particularly in places such as an airplane or government building where you are not allowed a knife or gun. I know I would rather get hit with an empty hammer fist versus one holding this.
     
  11. Hertao

    Hertao New Member

    I know what you're saying...and agree with you that they can be a force multiplier. I also like my Surefire in planes, etc. And, I'd also rather get hit with an empty hammer fist than one holding nearly any palm stick. But none of that necessarily makes them a good idea. (Not trying to argue with you here...just discussing this.) Holding a palm stick in your hand tends to make you strike rather than grab. If you were on a plane and trying to subdue a terrorist, you may be better off going in and breaking the guys neck rather than beating him with a palm stick. So while the palm stick may make a hammer fist more damaging, is it worth making you more likely to use that hammer fist vs. the alternatives and/or is it better than the alternative techniques?

    EDIT: I know the answer here is "it depends on the situation". But because you don't know what the situation will be before hand, I like to have a general strategy that involves weapon choice. So I'd rather take an expandable baton along than a palm stick, or a flash light than a palm stick. And even with a flashlight/palm stick my current default response strategies for certain attack types don't rely primarily on the palm stick to do the damage.

    I'd like to add that I agree a palm stick can be a great training tool for knife, as Tuhon mentioned in his first post.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  12. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Interesting argument. I guess my response would be that I think the likelihood of successful grappling a motivated terrorist is going to go up when I hit him in the face a few times. After that I can easily drop the stick if I get into a situation where I need to have the use of both hands for grabbing/grappling. A secondary thought is the idea that most in FMA think about multiple attack situations. In that case, I would suggest that being able to land a couple of significant blows while staying mobile is going to be a very good idea. Atienza Kali has some interesting vids on youtube detailing their approach to mass attack and what I notice repeatedly is the need to keep moving, pick your shots, and not get tied up with any one person for too long. On the PTI website, Tuhon Bill talks about Pekiti Tirsia being focused on dealing with up to three opponents at one time. I have not seen much in terms of techniques for multiple opponents from PTK but I would be surprised if similar principles did not apply.

    I think of the palm stick like any other tool. There is a time and place for it. A blade is not always the perfect option, nor is a gun, stick, baton, pepper spray, etc. I guess I would much rather have it then not have it given the option particularly in places where I can not have my EDC blade or CCW gun. I can always drop it or throw it away if it gets in my way.

    Interesting discussion...
     
  13. Hertao

    Hertao New Member

    That's a good point...regarding a few hits to the face making it easier to grapple if necessary.

    Another good point. And in the PTI seminars I've been to with Tuhon Bill he always stresses multiple opponents and footwork that gets you out, or in and out.

    I guess I see other weapons (expandable baton, gun, knife) as being better than the palm stick when it's possible to carry them, and then where it's not possible to carry more effective weapons, a palm stick may have hit and run or hit-to-create-opportunity applications. But the vast majority of applications I've been taught and seen around the web are very questionable in reality...in my opinion. I'm going to spend some time working with the palm stick and see if I can come up with some options I consider to be "better". I'd still appreciate other views/discussion on this topic if anyone else is open to it.
     
  14. Hertao

    Hertao New Member

    I just spent a few minutes with a palm stick...thinking about options...and have a couple of thoughts. As soon as I put the palm stick in my hand my focus is on the palm stick. I think that's only natural, and maybe very difficult to override. (I've taught martial arts full time for more than 10 years, and been practicing for more than 20...and still have a hard time not focusing on the palm stick when I hold it.) In that sense I see it working ok against an opponent with a single short weapon in one hand, who is also likely to be focusing on that weapon, so you can kind of go weapon vs. weapon. However if my opponent is armed with a knife my preference is to attempt to knock him out right away, and then get control of the weapon arm (like in this video) immediately. I don't like a knife flying around me with bad intent. You CAN do that with a palm stick, and drop the palm stick if necessary. But I wonder how likely that is in a real encounter...if you wouldn't be more likely to hold on to your stick and keep trying to hit with it, while possibly getting stabbed/slashed in the process. So again, I wonder if the advantages of a palm stick are not outweighed by the disadvantages.

    Against a weaponless opponent, you may not be legally justified in using a palm stick designed as such...although you probably could use a flashlight. But against an unarmed opponent I find numerous empty hand options to be more likely to succeed than any I can think of with a palm stick. I like "techniques" that work regardless of what the opponent throws...a "crash" against a punching attack for example...where I don't have to determine if the punch was a straight right or a left hook. With many palm stick applications you'd need to be far more precise, which in my opinion is less likely in reality.

    I'm going to work on it with a partner soon, but I'm struggling to logically come up with scenarios where a pure palm stick adds much if anything more than it subtracts.
     
  15. London

    London New Member

    I see one critical advantage that the palmstick provides is that you can have it IN your hand when going about your business without arousing suspicion from citizens or police. having a weapon in hand is golden. there are a ton of really cool better items but they are 3/4 of a second away at least if they are in holsters or pockets.

    regarding grappling: I practice using my surefire E2D and Surefire pen while working standing and kneeling clinch to great advantage. I'll use it to greatly enhance a Muay Thai style neck clinch, guillotine choke, head/arm triangle choke etc etc. it really lends itself well to grappling for me.

    great discussion.
     
  16. Hertao

    Hertao New Member

    That's true...there's no problem carrying an EDC light in your hand, etc. Actually, I find my Surefire LX2 (and the much cheaper but nearly equally bright Surefire 6PX Tactical I recently bought) extremely effective. It renders an opponent nearly incapable of launching a decent attack at night, assuming you've seen them coming and lit them up before hand...which really isn't all that difficult if you're aware of your surroundings and maintain a safe distance. I'm all for very bright, high quality tactical lights.

    I did a bit of practice yesterday, and discovered that if I hold the light in my hand without thinking about it at all, I can still do all the same default responses, and substitute hitting with the light only where appropriate. So I think the key to using a palm stick (without incurring the disadvantages) is not to think about the fact that you have it at all. Of course that assumes you have the necessary training to do that.

    To elaborate a little...I mean it seems to be most effective when you stick with what you've determined to work best (even if that has nothing to do with the palm stick), only using the palm stick where it provides a particular advantage. That may sound obvious, but my initial inclination is to use it too much. And I think 99.9% of training I've seen with the palm stick falls victim to this error.

    Agreed. This seems to be a particularly good use.
     
  17. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    As Tuhon McGrath says in the clip, "Every time I touch him I'm going to hurt him." If you can hurt him more without using the palm stick then fine, but palm sticks and other weapons tend to up the ante, imho...

    Best,

    Steve
     
  18. Hertao

    Hertao New Member

    I'm sure you've heard the saying "when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail". I do think a palm stick can provide more destructive power than a hammer fist strike, but the question is, how often is a more powerful hammer fist the most ideal technique? And when it's not, are you more likely to use it when you should be using something else? I don't want to use a hammer to screw in a screw, and I don't want to use a palm stick to try to smash the bicep of an incoming strike when I can do something FAR more efficient and effective.

    I like the idea that "every time I touch him I'm going to hurt him", but that may very well not be the most efficient and effective way to take someone out. Pain is not the goal, ending the fight is. And very often the two things have little to do with one another. An opponent who isn't feeling any pain, crazy on drugs, isn't even going to notice you hammering his arm with a palm stick (regardless of how much it hurts in training), but a choke is going to knock him out 100 times out of 100...without hurting him at all.

    My goal is to use techniques that have a very high probability of success, success meaning to end the attack. And I'd like to do that as quickly as possible. In most situations I don't see much extra value in using a palm stick. But I do see some...adding power to a hit and run strategy against multiple opponents, or using it sparingly/wisely in conjunction with other techniques, etc. As I keep mentioning though, that doesn't seem to be a popular idea among most people and I'm interested in hearing/seeing a logical counter argument.
     
  19. TuhonBill

    TuhonBill New Member

    palmstick

    Hertao wrote:

    I appreciate the thread on this subject, and thanks for the video above Tuhon. I wish I could have made it to the seminar but was out of the country (as usual).

    Before I go further I want to make clear that I don't mean any disrespect or offense. I've learned a ton from Tuhon Bill (and Danny Terrell...in the video above) and am more than sure you can handle yourself just fine! With that said...


    No offense taken. You have a perfectly legitimate question on the subject. I'll try to explain my thinking on this.




    What are your thoughts on the palmstick?
    I have serious doubts as to the effectiveness of the palm stick, but I'd LOVE to be proven wrong as it would be great for such an easy-to-carry object to be substantially more effective than empty hand fighting. The combination in the video looks pretty good, especially when you consider the vital aspect of the footwork. But if you take a look at nearly any real fight, no one stands basically still, throws a perfect cross, etc. You've normally got crazy, dynamic movement and you have no idea if the attack is going to be a straight left, right, hook, upper cut, or something wild and in between. If you limit sparring to boxing style punches with good form, I can pull off bicep smashes and the like. But if your opponent is wild and crazy (and you never know what you're going to face on the street), those things tend to go out the window entirely...in my experience.




    Even if YouTube didn't have a time limit on videos, I wouldn't post everything I teach there. It would probably help if I explained the training progression I use. I like to start the students training with a simple technique with a low number of variables in order to get the basic structure down. If you break the drill shown in the video down to its subcomponents, it's really just a forehand strike, a backhand strike or push and a hook. A fairly basic combination.


    I like to add footwork early to ingrain this important aspect of fighting as soon as possible in the learning process.
    Once the students have the basic structure down of a technique like this, I then introduce variables. In this case the same technique can be used against a left punch, push or grab attempt. There are also variables such as how the opponent reacts to the hit. Does the arm retract? If so, by how much? I show it first against a right cross because that is a common street attack (whether perfectly thrown or not), but I then show how the same technique can be used against several different other attacks. I show it first with a stationary attacker and then add variables such as an opponent advancing straight on or as one of multiple attackers coming from an angle.



    So I'm not so sure the "entries" that are often demonstrated with a palm stick are practical. Even more, I'm not sure they're even ideal. Wouldn't a person be much better off just parrying the punch and smashing the opponent in the face (for example) from the beginning? It seems more likely to succeed, more likely to do more damage faster, and will decrease your chances of getting hit by the second punch in the serious your opponent is likely coming with.




    Weapon work is different than empty hand. If you have a weapon in your hand, then the opponent's limbs become legitimate targets. Yes, it would be great to end every fight with one knockout punch instead of wasting your time hitting other areas, but that's like saying you are wasting your time in chess capturing a pawn or knight, you should just go for checkmate on the first move. In real life, it is easier to break down an opponent's closer and/or less protected body parts before going for the distant/well protected ones. And remember, the human fist is especially prone to injury in a real fight. I teach cops, soldiers and civilians who carry a weapon alike to protect their hands during a fight by hitting their opponent with something other than their fists.


    I like to use these examples at my seminars of why you shouldn't punch without hand protection:
    1. In the old days of bare knuckle boxing the fights sometimes went on for hours (the record is 6 hours 15 minutes) and dozens of rounds. The reason for this is hitting hard enough to knock a man out is also hitting hard enough to break your hand on his head. Wraps and gloves were added to the game not so much to protect the fighters heads as to protect their hands. A broken fourth or fifth metacarpal in the hand is called a “boxer's fracture” for a reason.


    2. In the 1990's a NYPD police academy report said that 25% of the injuries suffered by officers in assaults included a broken right hand during the fight. The overwhelming majority of these fractures were caused by impact with the perp's head.


    3. In 1988, Mike Tyson (then heavyweight champ) got into a street fight with another boxer named Mitch Green. Tyson, not a frail, thin-boned person by any measure, broke his hand during the fight. Now if Mike Tyson can brake his hand when hitting a human skull, why should we normal human beings think we can do any better?


    My first objection to the palm stick are the entries that are usually taught/practiced.

    My second objection (even if you go straight for the "knock out"), is that the palm stick TENDS to limit a person to long range striking attacks, where an opponent can much more easily evade/escape and counter or continue fighting, compared to controlling the opponent and using techniques that are arguably more efficient/effective/devastating.




    I can't speak for other arts, but the way I teach palmstick includes long, middle and close range techniques which come out of Pekiti-Tirsia knife and empty hand material. Pekiti-Tirsia also places an emphasis on locks and takedowns which can be done with a weapon in your hand and used to aid the effectiveness of the move.




    I carry a Surefire LX2, in my hand if I'm in a questionable area/street/block/etc., both where I'm able to carry a gun and where I'm not. It's incredibly bright, and will blind someone with night adapted vision for a solid 2 seconds or so. I like this FAR more than a standard palm stick, as you can blind someone first, and then do what you need to do. But I can't think of many follow ups where I'd hit the opponent with the light (which is really the same as a short metal bar) rather than something else. For instance, I like the idea of blinding a potential attacker and kicking him very hard in the balls as I bridge the distance, followed by a hack to the back of the neck if the opponent bends over (and it's necessary). In a really bad scenario where you need to take someone out for sure, I'd favor head wrenches and such (after drilling the opponent in the balls, solar plexus, etc. and getting control) vs. hitting with a light or palm stick.






    When I say palm stick, I mean any non-edged tool of that size. When I teach this class I usually show my palmstick (a Cold Steel mini Koda) as my trainer and the tools I actually carry and would use as a palmstick; a tactical pen and flashlight. I also attach a lanyard to my flashlight so I can use that as a multi-use tool for flexible weapon techniques.


    There are a few combinations I like which could follow a blinding flash, that include bashing the opponent with the light...but I'm not so sure they're substantially better than devastating empty hand alternatives. (If you search for "palm stick" in Google a blog post I wrote on the same subject is #1...with slightly more detailed objections.) Like I said, I'd love to be proven wrong here. But with all respect, I can't see entries like the one demonstrated in the above video working in the majority of street attacks, and I'm not certain the palm stick is THAT much better than none even if you go straight "for the kill". I'm interested in Tuhon and other's thoughts on this.





    I recommend having something in your hand to defend yourself in a fight. I would rather hit someone with a tool that feels no pain, is harder than human bone, can't be cut by broken bone fragments or teeth and doesn't absorb the opponent's potentially disease carrying blood. Would I rather have a bigger, better weapon than a palmstick in hand during a fight? Of course. But the point of training with this tool is that you can have it with you when the bigger, better things are unavailable.




    Regards,
    Tuhon Bill McGrath
     
  20. Hertao

    Hertao New Member

    Thanks for the detailed response Tuhon!

    That certainly makes sense. And I definitely agree with this:

    But I'm not so sure I agree with this IF we're talking about short blunt weapons or empty hands:

    I agree with you 100% in the case of swords, longer sticks, and even longer knives. But in the case of short weapons, based on my experience I find it easier to go straight in with the exception of possibly smacking or pulling the lead barrier (arm) out of the way. When dealing with empty hands or short weapons, I find that attempting to attack the arm riskier than going straight in...especially when dealing with a dynamic opponent. But I do accept that could be my own preference and not something that's better for everyone.

    Again, I agree 100%. BUT, I make up for that fact by not punching the head. I use hacks, palms, slaps, etc. instead of punches. So I don't see the weakness of the hand being an argument for the use of the palm stick since there are so many empty hand options that don't endanger the hand. However, I do think this is an especially good point that I haven't considered much:

    I love Pekiti Tirsia, and if I could only train one system it would almost certainly be Pekiti. I've greatly enjoyed every seminar I've been to with you, and have found value in almost every technique, combination, and drill you teach. But in my own development I've tended to subtract rather than add. When I look at something like the Contradas (for example), I prefer to break them into a few "entries", "follow ups", and "finishes" rather than memorizing a load of specific combinations of what really amounts to a few moves or concepts. Along the same lines I have a few solid default responses I can rely on, with various follow ups and "finishes", complimented by sparring in case something goes wrong and things go on longer than I'd like. So my inclination is to want to find applications with the palm stick that have a high probability of success regardless of the particular type of attack beyond a certain level. I like to incorporate the possibility of failure into every default response, and limit catastrophic failure as much as possible by use of footwork, cover, etc. I haven't done that yet with the palm stick, and don't quite see it with what I've seen of PT palm stick material...a bit from Danny and what you've mentioned/shown above. I'll be in N.O. for a few weeks and should probably try to get together with Danny.
     

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